Arts & Entertainment

'SOMA Artists Studio Tour' Will Showcase 70 Artists on Sunday



SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Getting to meet professional artists and viewing their work is not an everyday occurrence. In fact, many people have to trek to New York just to visit a studio. But residents of South Orange and Maplewood soon won’t have to travel far to see fine art; as part of the Artists Studio Tour, they can see numerous paintings and sculptures in their very own neighborhoods.

The 10th Annual South Orange/Maplewood Artists Studio Tour will be held Sunday, June 2, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event, which is presented by South Orange’s Pierro Gallery and Maplewood’s Gallery 1978, sees local artists opening their studios and displaying their work to residents, who are welcome at no cost. This year close to 70 artists will be participating in the tour, according to South Orange director of cultural affairs Sandy Martiny. Of that number, at least 30 are involved in the tour for the first time, Martiny added.

Sign Up for E-News

Martiny said the tour raises awareness for the artists who are often “hiding in plain sight,” with community members not realizing what they do for a living. She said residents can also benefit just by experiencing the art.

“I think it’s always important for people to have access to the arts,” Martiny said. “To be able to go into an artist’s studio and see how they work and talk to the artist about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it really brings a vibrancy to your life.”

Since making the tour free, Martiny said she noticed an increase in people who participate in it. She said now families, art lovers, friends and neighbors of the artists and even people who simply stumbled upon the tour route take part in the event. Last June over 900 joined in, and Martiny said she expects that number to rise this year.

Martiny said she receives very positive feedback about the tour from residents. As the years have gone by, the event has even developed a following.

“People really like it,” Martiny said. “It’s a once-a-year event that people look forward to coming to… People are really attached to it.”

In addition to the artists on the tour route, there are also several special programs being held as part of the event. People who visit the Pierro Gallery can see two exhibits, which both close June 22. “SOMA: Engaging Art” features pieces by tour artists that require audience interaction. Visitors can help artists Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank paint a canvas, witness an unusual curved painting by William Figdor and watch performance artist Christian Russell, among other things. Additionally at the gallery, “TEN: The Soul of SOMA” celebrates the tour’s tenth anniversary by presenting art from 36 of the event’s past participants.

“ABC: Art & Business Connection,” an ongoing series that ends June 2, involves displaying artwork in local businesses. Community members can see pieces in Gutten Parts, Spark House Studio, Robyn Ross and Papillon 25 Martini Bar & Restaurant. While in town, residents can search for hidden butterflies crocheted by the Rebel Yarns artist group. Finders of the butterflies are invited to bring them to Spiotta Park, where those who found the most will win an invitation to the tour after-party at SOPAC.

Community members can visit the event’s website at to get a map of the tour route. They can also see interviews with 19 of the participating artists in which they give insight into the creative process. That project was spearheaded by artist Sybil Archibald, who also serves on the organization committee.

Archibald, whose studio will be open to the public for the tour, relishes the opportunity to work with fellow artists and hear their opinions of her work.

“I don’t think the importance of [the artistic] community can be overrated,” she said. “It just feeds the artist. It’s very hard to work in a vacuum, and artists work alone a lot. And so to have something where every year you know that all the artists are going to be getting together and joining forces, it’s just great.”

This year Archibald will be showcasing her Earthen Vessel Series of sculptures, which explores how creativity arises from suffering. She said suffering can lead to growth in people. Afflicted with scleroderma, Archibald said being ill actually has improved her art because it provides her with a deeper understanding of life and people, allowing her to be more creative as a result.

“As my body has broken down I suffer less because each time I have some sort of health episode, I let go of more of the stuff that I held on to – more of the anger, more of the pain, the sorrow… I let go of more of that stuff,” she said. “So I’m a greater vessel [for creativity] than I was when I first came into this lifetime.”

For her series, Archibald sculpted historical figures she describes as inspirations – people who overcame suffering to do great things. She said she hopes viewers will learn that they too can overcome any obstacles they face. The sculptures, as well as other artwork she created, will be for sale during the tour, with prices ranging from $25 to $20,000.

But for Archibald, the important thing about the tour is not money but providing a memorable occasion for residents.

“Art changes the way people see things,” Archibald said. “It can move you, it can stimulate your mind, it can engage your emotions – it can change you. So [the tour] is an opportunity for all the people in the community to come out and have a very meaningful experience.”

For more information on the Artists Studio Tour visit To learn more about Sybil Archibald go to


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

South Orange Police Blotter - iPhone Reported Stolen from Basketball Courts

June 21, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 21

Burglary - The owner of a business on Vose Avenue reported that sometime between 12:45 p.m., Sunday, June 17,  and 10 a.m., Monday, June 18, actor(s) unknown forcibly gained access to the business through the front door, rummaged through cabinets and desks and removed some personal items (including Bose brand speakers ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

Maplewood's Hilton Neighborhood Association Celebrates 23rd Anniversary

June 24, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Hilton Neighborhood Association celebrated its 23rd Anniversary on Wednesday evening, June 20.

The event took place at the Springfield Avenue Gazebo with entertainment by the Swing Town Band. 

All photos courtesy of Carl Patterson of CP Photo Op Photography.

South Orange's Allyson Murphy Mobilizes Mothers in Newark to Protest Trump Family Separation Policy

NEWARK, NJ - A group of New Jersey mothers took time to come to Newark with the kind of loved ones recently taken from other mothers: their children.

"It's unconscionable that our government is stealing children from their parents and locking them up in cages," said Christina Liu, a Montclair mom holding her baby daughter, commenting on President Donald Trump's recent ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 26, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, June 28, 6:30 PM

The Book House, Millburn

Book to Plate

Food & Drink


Fri, June 29, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Tue, July 3, 4:30 PM

Maplewood Memorial Park, Maplewood

First Time Ever July 3rd Circus Performances and ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Other

Men’s Shul Softball League Unites in Livingston to Support Parkland Community

June 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Men’s Shul Softball League, consisting of teams from temples throughout Livingston, West Orange, Short Hills and other neighboring communities in Essex and Morris counties, gathered in Livingston prior to regular play on Sunday morning in support of Make Our Schools Safe, an organization started by the parents of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School ...

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Murphy Signs Bill Ending Child Marriage Championed by Westfield’s Fraidy Reiss and Unchained at Last

June 25, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday that bars individuals under the age of 18 from marrying or entering a civil union. It was a major win for Fraidy Reiss, founder of the Westfield-based Unchained At Last, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women and girls in the US to escape or resist arranged/forced marriages and rebuild their lives.

This makes New Jersey the ...

Suspect in Union Carjacking Takes Own Life in Hillside

UNION, NJ – A Baltimore man ended up taking his own life in the Hillside Police Department after he was arrested for a suspected attempted carjacking in Union Friday afternoon.

The Maryland man, Jermaine Covington, 41, was arrested and used an officer’s service weapon to take his life, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Saturday.

Covington left the scene ...

South Orange Summer 2018 Student Leadership Institute

June 23, 2018

Program Overview and Application Form: (Deadline to Apply: Wednesday, June 27)

The Township of South Orange Village is pleased to offer students the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills in the areas of local government and civic engagement where they will interact with a variety of elected officials, municipal departments, and community leaders.

The Student Leadership ...

Welcome To South Orange, Drive 25!

With very few exceptions, the speed limit throughout the Village is 25 miles per hour.

Along with barbeques, trips down the shore, and local ice cream runs, July and August mark the summer driving season. If you are driving in, or through South Orange, that means driving at 25 miles per hour. “Welcome to South Orange, now drive 25” says Lt. Michael Corrigan, the head of the SOPD ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - June 22 to June 28

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:          

Chobani Yogurt 32oz $6.99
Friendly’s Ice Cream 48floz $3.99
Turkey Hero $5.99 ea (Deli)
Brad’s Blues Tortilla Chips  $2.99
Housemade Premade Lemonade 16oz $4.99 (Bakery)
Red Wax Gouda $5.99lb ...